Dinos fall to Queen's of the ball

MIKE KOREEN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:22 AM ET

QUEBEC CITY -- With the Vanier Cup in their reach, the Calgary Dinos failed to land the knockout blow.

Instead, the Dinos will go down in the record books for all the wrong reasons.

The Queen's Golden Gaels notched the biggest second-half comeback in the 45-year history of the CIS football championship, rallying from a 25-7 deficit to stun Calgary 33-31 before a sellout crowd of 18,628 fans yesterday at PEPS Stadium.

"It's difficult. I feel like (crap)," said Dinos running back Matt Walter, who couldn't haul in a pass from Erik Glavic on a two-point conversion that would have tied the game with 6:38 left.

"People believe in you, and you want to make the school proud, and we let them down. We turned the ball over too many times. It's just a terrible feeling."

The Dinos, who had won 10 games in a row coming into the Vanier Cup, were their own worst enemies in the final 30 minutes yesterday.

In the third quarter, star quarterback Erik Glavic fumbled once deep in his own end and also had a pass picked off by Matt Vickers in the endzone on an attempted touchdown pass. What's more, the Gaels blocked a 17-yard field goal in that troubling third quarter for Calgary.

Still, the Dinos fought back and put themselves within two with Glavic's 15-yard touchdown strike to Anthony Parker, easily Calgary's best player on the day with 187 receiving yards.

However, on the next Calgary drive Richard Snyder fumbled after catching a Glavic pass near midfield with three minutes left. The Gaels then turned to the running game, overpowering the Dinos to run out the clock.

"I made some mistakes and some bad decisions," said Glavic, who threw for 354 yards but also was intercepted twice and fumbled twice. "A lot is on me for that loss. I have to play better than I did."

The Gaels, who had just 121 yards of offence in the first quarter, exploded for 315 yards in the air and on the ground in the decisive second half.

Queen's quarterback Danny Brannagan, who struggled under consistent pressure in the first half, lifted his game in a big way when he returned to the field after halftime.

They went ahead for good on the first series of the fourth quarter when a rolling Brannagan hit Scott Valberg for an impressive 17-yard strike, putting Queen's up 26-25.

Brannagan was named the game's most valuable player.

"We just had to take a deep breath and relax," said Brannagan, who threw for 221 of his 286 yards in the second half. "I didn't play well in the first half, but at the same time, you know it's just a temporary thing."

The Dinos, who have won four Vanier Cups, came up just short in a bid to tie the Laval Rouge et Or for second on the all-time national championship victory list.

Calgary hasn't won a title since 1995.

"It's another step, but this one hurts a lot," said Calgary coach Blake Nill. "We just didn't make enough plays in the second half."

MKOREEN@THEWHIG.COM


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